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Unforced variations: Feb 2018

Filed under: — group @ 2 February 2018

This month’s open thread for climate science topics. Note that discussions about mitigation and/or adaptation should be on the Forced Responses thread.

Let’s try and avoid a Groundhog Day scenario in the comments!

266 Responses to “Unforced variations: Feb 2018”

  1. 51
    nigelj says:

    Regarding “EPA Adminstrator Pruitt’s first Senate appearance since his confirmation did not go as planned”:

    Pruit said”The President has liberated our country from the political class and given America back to the people.”

    Just change people and insert corporations, nutters, ideologues,racists and morons.

  2. 52
    Thomas says:

    edited response i made to Kevin in late Jan UV: fwiw

    Looking at the big picture over the years I have found all these energy use ‘sources’ as being in the same Ball Park. eg Renewables, wind solar geo biomass is still only about 3.67% of global energy use.

    Projections out to 2040 based on industry info and international “promises/goals” it will triple or quadrupedal but Renewables will still be next to nothing ~15%? Hydro barely moves — very few to no suitable river valleys are left to add more hydro at scale.

    Fossil fuels is 77%…. by 2040 projected to drop down to 74% give or take a % or 2. Coal use is flat from 2025 to 2040 meaning …. it is not “expected” to be less than it is today.

    Oil and gas keeps growing massively. Bar Exxon’s trick of saying Oil use will grow by 20% and/or it will fall by 20% these “reports/scenarios” produced and published simultaneously by Exxon. A neat trick indeed.

    Land use forcing is still positive today. Indications is that it won’t be dropping anytime soon. Add that to FF energy use increases in the future.

    NETs are ineffective (as far as impact) or not deployed at scale, despite a decade plus of intense studies showing they are ‘technically’ effective.

    Global energy use today has and is still increasing – and going forward forecast to remain at 3%/yr from now thru 2040 (all things Paris accord included, being equal).

    CO2ppm still increasing despite a 3 year apparent ‘flattening’ in man made FF energy ’emissions’. To stop CO2 ppm rising and holding them at under 408 ppm for 2018 would require a reduction in Net carbon emissions of at least 2 GtC/yr on current use based on multiple lines of refs in published papers from Hansen down to the latest PhD student of climate science. (my rough estimate, do feel free to calc your own).

    So, reductions in FFs, and LUC and total energy use and damaged ecosystems of forests and intentional land clearing or Ag NETs or reafforstation etc etc etc and reductions in CO2e ppm growth and cummulative levels is not going to happen anytime soon …. bar some exceptions here and there to run up a media flag pole in a forlorn hope.

    Not going to happen, not now, not by 2030 either, or by 2040 even with multiple tipping points hitting and the potential systemic step changes in various parts of the climate system looming on the horizon from unexpected indeterminate Positive Feedbacks …. you know those things that are NOT included in SRES or RCPs or IPCC forecasts.

    “Could” something be done, and if so is it reasonable to expect major positive improvements could be made? Yes. Definitely.

    Big jump from “could” to “will” and then to “has happened”. Unfortunately.

    People are problematic. 1990 to 2018 the proof of that is self-evident and irrefutable. Time is (and was) of the essence, but frankly imv ‘the people’ have already run out of time.

    Humanity, rock, hard place! That is AGW/CC:101 and it has always been so!

    And that is the most hopeful positive spin I can muster atm, given that CO2 ppm and Global SSTs and Arctic Sea Ice are all Proxies for Climate Change Impacts now and ongoing. Always good and logical and rational and sane to actually “follow the data” no matter where it leads. A dash of human intuition and an ounce of common sense in the mix cannot hurt either.

    I see no point in arguing about anything.

  3. 53
    MA Rodger says:

    nigelj @44,
    I delayed replying to you as in considering measurments of ENSO which I had assumed would all show a significant increase post-1980, I note that ONI has remained as flat as a pancake 1950-to-date. I’ve not entirely got to the bottom of it. And of course, ONI is often used to define the ENSO status.
    However, the issue of ENSO & AGW extends further than the simple measurement of the phenomenon and surely includes the broader climatic impacts of the phenomenon. And that includes its impact on the carbon cycle.

    In terms of measuring ENSO itself, MEI shows a rise in El Nino strength and (perhaps) a reduction in La Nina strength since 1980. There are reconstructions going back to 1870 and trends (note the plural trendS) are evident – Graph here but note overlaps between panels.
    SOI (plotted upside down), which is a measure of the pressure gradient across the Pacific also shows a trend since 1950.
    However ONI which is based on the NINO3,4 temperature is arguably as flat an a pancake 1950-to-date. As NINO3,4 is not ‘flat-as-a-pancake’ there presumably must be some de-trending used in converting NINO3,4 into ONI.

    That said, for whatever reason, most discussion of trends in the strength of ENSO within the literature seems to concern the strength of its impacts and not the phenomenon itself. Given ENSO is not easily predictable and thus not well understood, it is probably sensible to analyse effects/impacts and not causes.
    And if the impacts are becoming greater, that does raise the point that such bigger impacts will also be felt by the carbon cycle. A stressed forest will grow less and thus absorb less CO2 when stressed by an El Nino. But how far can you stress it before significant damage is done that will reduce the levels of growth over the period following the stressful time?
    Happily there is some literature directly addressing the impact of future ENSO on CO2 (eg Kim et al (2017) ‘Intensification of terrestrial carbon cycle related to El Niño–Southern Oscillation under greenhouse warming’) although there is still quite basic work required doing (eg Chylek et al (2018) ‘The carbon cycle response to two El Nino types: an observational study’ (Note the notorious co-author.)

  4. 54
    mike says:

    Nigel at 50: yes, I understand what you are saying. I think the EN LN thing is very interesting and I am interested in discussion about whether future EN events are going to be more intense.

    My reservations about EN LN discussion center around how those wobbles in the relentless trend get spun into discussion of the background rate of increase of CO2 in the atmosphere and oceans. I tend/try to look past the EN/LN wobble and maintain a read on the background rate of increase. I think the decadal background rate of increase is in the 2.4 to 2.5 ppm range at this time. I think the easiest way to evaluate and “confirm” the background rate for any particular year would be to wait 5 years, then average the ppm increase for those 5 years, plus 5 more back and say, oh, the decadal rate for any given year is roughly #.#.

    This is pretty basic number crunching, it is not rocket science and it should be evaluated with an eye on unusual events (giant EN, volcanic eruption, etc) that might push the decadal numbers one way or the other. But to argue against the basic soundness of an average decadal increase rate because there was an EN event or even a large EN event (1998 or 2015/6) seems silly to me because the EN LN wobble is simply a component of the weather in each decade reviewed.

    Again, my sense is that the current background rate is in the 2.4 to 2.5 ppm range. You won’t see that number in yoy averages for 2018 because the 2017 comparison number is elevated, it is in the bump of the recent EN event. We might see the background rate reflected in the 2019 numbers when compared to 2018 numbers if those two years don’t end up having unusual climate features that we describe as wobble in this discussion.

    One caution on the emission report numbers: I agree with your estimate of 75% reliable, but the atmospheric and ocean accumulation of CO2 are only partly driven by the emissions covered in the reports. There are other factors (changes in the natural sources of emissions in a warmed environment, changes in the function of traditional carbon sinks in a warmed environment, tipping points like increase forest fire activity in a warmed environment, etc.) that also play a significant role in the truly important number, which is accumulation of CO2/e in the atmosphere and ocean acidification.


  5. 55
    Hank Roberts says:

    SAVED! by Deus ex machina ….

    … physicist Dan Lubin at the University of California San Diego has calculated an estimate of how much dimmer the sun is likely to be when the next such grand minimum takes place.

    His team’s study, “Ultraviolet Flux Decrease Under a Grand Minimum from IUE Short-wavelength Observation of Solar Analogs,” has been published in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters.

    It finds the sun is likely to be 7 percent cooler than its usual minimum.

    And another grand minimum is likely to be just decades away, based on the cooling spiral of recent solar cycles….

    Where? You can guess, can’t you?

    [Fox News]
    Why the sun will soon get dimmer
    Fox News


    The Astrophysical Journal Letters – IOPscience

    The Letters section was created as Part 2 of The Astrophysical Journal in 1967 by Chandrasekhar. He cited the need for a separate publishing schedule that allowed astrophysicists to rapidly publish short notices of their “spectacular developments in astronomy”, Chandrasekhar, 1967, ApJ, 148, …

  6. 56
    nigelj says:

    MA Rodger @53, thanks for the information. The ONI appears to me to show the strong el ninos becoming stronger, unless I’m misinterpreting it. However I think you are right, its more about strength of impacts on forests etc.

  7. 57

    HR 55,

    For the sun to become 7% dimmer, it would require a drop in TSI of 95 watts per square meter. This would not only be unprecedented, it would set off an immediate ice age. Not gonna happen.

  8. 58
    MA Rodger says:

    nigelj @56,
    (Note I haven’t re-visited the ONI/NINO3,4 discrepancy. Trends in NINO3,4 show a difference from the ONI ones.)
    As you say, this graph of ONI set out HERE plainly shows the peak El Nino values of ONI getting higher through the period 1950-to-date. But note the spacing between those big El Ninos also gets wider – 8yr, 7yr, 10yr, 15yr, 18yr. So how to reconsile extra power with lower frequency? And there is further consideration – Are La Ninas also getting more powerful/more frequent?
    For what it’s worth, calculating 10-year rolling averages of positive ONI and negative ONI (thus periods of El Nino & La Nina) 1950-to-date showed (ignoring the period in the early 1970s when there was a lot of La Nina months & few La Nino ones) average El Nino values increasing slowly for most of the period but then sharply dropping in strength post-1998 while average La Nina values increased throughout.

  9. 59
    MartinJB says:


    You say “This would not only be unprecedented, it would set off an immediate ice age.”

    Silly denialist retort is “That’s why we need greenhouse gasses. Otherwise we’ll all freeze. Why do you hate people?” Same silly denialist probably also denies the greenhouse effect entirely in another context. Denial is SO very situational… [you can’t see, but my eyes have rolled so much I might not be able to get them back]

  10. 60
    GeorgeS says:

    Why would a 7% decrease in UV from the sun result in it being 7% cooler, when UV is only a small fraction of the energy put out? I was unable to access the actual article.

  11. 61
    nigelj says:

    MA Rodger @58, I didn’t notice the el nino peaks getting further apart. Probably confirmation bias on my part, looking for evidence of intensity, and ignoring everything else that could be changing.

    The large la ninas have increased in strength. They have also got further apart as well since about 1980 in one of those graphs.

    I’m still a bit mystified trying to reconcile this, with the IPCC statement of essentially no significant change to enso, unless they are saying the various changes cancel each other out.

    However your original statement that a warming world increases the impacts of el nino and la nina is pertinent and enough of a problem for humanity to contend with.

  12. 62
    nigelj says:

    Regarding so called grand solar minimums. The little ice age was about 500 years long, and temperatures dropped by about half a degree celsius, and it was a so called “grand solar minimum”.

    The Dan Lubin article is paywalled. Can anyone explain in plain english for a non physicist why Lubin thinks we are in for something more dramatic?

  13. 63

    GS 60,

    Sorry, I thought it said sunlight in general would dim 7%. I suppose a 7% dip in UV is possible. Not enough of a solar astronomer to know. Anybody?

    [Response: During a solar minimum, the UV goes down more (up to 10%) than the total irradiance (about 0.1%). So the tendency during a grand minimum (which is being hypothesised here), it’s possible that it would go down a further 7%. Impacts of UV change are greatest in the stratosphere, but you get some changes in absorption by ozone in the troposphere. – gavin]

  14. 64
    Mal Adapted says:

    Mr. Ironically Anosognosic Typist:

    Many comments above about lack of urgency. This really is the problem. In the day and age of the internet do we really need scientists flying 1/2 way around the world to Australia to some kind of conference. No urgency to curb their own emissions.

    This really is the problem: Mr. IAT is once again rebunking the denialist meme that AGW can’t be a globally urgent problem if climate scientists don’t voluntarily internalize the marginal climate-change cost of their private fossil carbon emissions. He is, as ever, blind to the tragedy of the climate commons, which results from everyone’s freedom to socialize all the private cost the ‘free’ market will allow.

  15. 65
    Thomas says:

    Up-to-date weekly average CO2 at Mauna Loa
    Week beginning on January 28, 2018: 407.90 ppm
    Weekly value from 1 year ago: 406.02 ppm (+1.88 -yr)
    Weekly value from 10 years ago: 386.58 ppm (+2.13 -yr)
    Last updated: February 9, 2018

    407.90 ppm is the 4th Highest Weekly CO2 ppm reading ever recorded for January-February since ppm data records began.

    The scientific method requires observations of nature to formulate and test hypotheses

    In science, a fact is a repeatable careful observation or measurement (by experimentation or other means), also called empirical evidence.


  16. 66
    Thomas says:

    little short term variation snippet from ASIF

    Looks like melting season and not freezing – Pacific side Feb 6 – Feb 8. Indeed, current models show warmth until at least Feb 19 over Bering and Chukchi.”;topic=2141.0;attach=96765

  17. 67
    Thomas says:

    Recent comms from Hansen re Michael Foster DAPL sentencing

    “If I had to put it in one sentence, it might be: the older generations, the people in power, are failing to protect the rights and the future of young people. Frankly, I do not see how we can fix the situation without making America America again. “

  18. 68
    Mr. Know It All says:

    55 – Hank

    The Fox News article said the solar minimum would not stop warming caused by CO2. Many news outlets ran the story.

    Similar to the 2010 solar minimum. This story from CBS Boston in 2010 said the sun was the main driver of warming and CO2 played a very, very, small part:

    Good time to do some testing of models I’d think.

  19. 69
    Vendicar Decarian says:

    51: “Just change people and insert corporations, nutters, ideologues,racists and morons.”

    “Corporations ARE people my friend.” – Mitt Ronmey

    Trump popularity 40% and rising.

  20. 70
    Ingersol says:

    I haven’t seen any discussion of the Marsicek Holocene NH reconstruction. Hoping someone will write a feature article on it. What does this tell us that we didn’t already know and how does it compare to Marcott?

  21. 71
    Thomas says:

    Recent Daily Average Mauna Loa CO2
    February 09: 409.01 ppm
    February 08: 407.35 ppm
    February 07: 408.20 ppm
    February 06: 407.97 ppm

    February 10 cracks 410.50 ppm during daily readings. A new record for 2018

    Only once has the Weekly Avg cracked 410 ppm – 2017-05 410.36 ppm

  22. 72
    Thomas says:

    Curious how many (% of) other scientists (RC readers) today see the present situation like this:

    In brief, the overwhelming scientific evidence establishes that we are, in fact, in a state of emergency with respect to fossil fuel emissions and the climate system on which we, our progeny, and nature as we know it, depend.

    … here the science establishes that we are out of time

    … the Deep Decarbonization Strategy (2016) report stands out as a singular recent commitment by our government in the proper direction — although, regrettably, that commitment has been abandoned by the Trump Administration’s renunciation of its obligations under the Paris Agreement.

    … demand a change in policy and practice sufficient to prevent dangerous disruption of the climate system.

    … our lethal complacency with respect to the unexampled danger to civilization and nature presented by unarrested fossil fuel emissions.

    … it is now clear that our continuing fossil fuel emissions are destabilizing the planet’s major ice sheets.

    … these devastating consequences will be realized absent effective action. It is a question not of “if,” but “when.”

    None of this can be taken to mean that continued high fossil fuel emissions present only an increasingly certain risk of later catastrophes. Such emissions also are presently disrupting the climate system with current lethal impacts to humans and other species.

    In sum, the overwhelming scientific evidence establishes our emergency situation with the respect to climate.

    [PS. Knowing, of course, that both Temps and CO2/e ppm are simple proxies for known and known unknown Climate Change Impacts.]

  23. 73
    Steven Emmerson says:


    I found this on a UCSD website:

    During a grand minimum, Lubin estimates that ultraviolet radiation diminishes an additional seven percent beyond the lowest point of that cycle.

    So they expect the decrease in UV during the next minimum to be 107% of average and not a 7% decrease in UV output.

    Trust Fox “News” to present alternative facts.

  24. 74
    Thomas says:

    T. Ball is still at it …

    So, the surface temperature computations by NOAA and NASA after about 1980 are meaningless. Combining this with the problems with the early data, the conclusion is unavoidable: it is not possible to know how the Earth’s so-called average temperature has varied over the past century and a half.

    Read more here:

    Thankfully sooner or later Ball will go the way of Carter and the Dodo. Sorry, but I have a very limited “window of tolerance” for narcissistic sociopaths and psychopaths (calling a spade a spade.) So I’m praying for sooner.

  25. 75
    wili says:

    “Devil’s Bargain”
    Eric Holthaus

    “…According to a new study, we might be locked in this deadly embrace. Research by an international team of scientists recently published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters says that the cooling effect of aerosols is so large that it has masked as much as half of the warming effect from greenhouse gases. So aerosols can’t be wiped out. Take them away and temperatures would soar overnight…”

    This seems rather…significant…no?

    Link to the study:


    “Limiting global warming to 1.5 or 2.0°C requires strong mitigation of anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Concurrently, emissions of anthropogenic aerosols will decline, due to coemission with GHG, and measures to improve air quality. However, the combined climate effect of GHG and aerosol emissions over the industrial era is poorly constrained. Here we show the climate impacts from removing present-day anthropogenic aerosol emissions and compare them to the impacts from moderate GHG-dominated global warming.

    Removing aerosols induces a global mean surface heating of 0.5–1.1°C, and precipitation increase of 2.0–4.6%.

    Extreme weather indices also increase. We find a higher sensitivity of extreme events to aerosol reductions, per degree of surface warming, in particular over the major aerosol emission regions. Under near-term warming, we find that regional climate change will depend strongly on the balance between aerosol and GHG forcing.”

    Comments from mods and others would be most welcome.

  26. 76
    Thomas says:

    68 Mr. Know It All says: “Good time to do some testing of models”

    Man, you are truly brilliant. Climate Scientists never thought of that.

    Thank God you are here to set them all straight. I think they’ll give you an award for this unrecognized brilliance. :-)

  27. 77
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Regarding the GSM suggestion. Mainstream media as well as Faux News have blown it way out of proportion. Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) approximates a blackbody spectrum quite nicely. Decreasing temperature not only decreases the magnitude of radiation emitted, but shifts the peak toward longer wavelengths. Thus UV decreases far more than emissions in the visible (which are what matters).

  28. 78
    wili says:

    wrt my post at 75, I was under the (mistaken?) impression that, besides the study I linked to, most recent studies showed the aerosol cooling to be right about .5 degrees C. But this shows that level as the basement lowest possible amount, with the highest about matching the total warming we have seen so far since the industrial revolution.

    This I find…concerning, though I know that nigel will kindly remind me not to put too much into any one study (thank, n :) ).

    But I am still not enthusiastic about Holthaus’s proposals for intentionally attempting to engineer the global climate.

    Again, insight, input, perspectives…from others on this would be most welcome.

  29. 79
    MA Rodger says:

    wili @75,
    The Eric Hothaus thesis is that removal of CO2 emissions to prevent future rises of the AGW positive climate forcing will also remove the emissions of stuff that results in negative forcings. As the negative forcings have a shorter shelf-life, the immediate result of removing CO2 emissions will be a big rise in net positive forcing because the short shelf-life negative forcings will disappear unmasking the full positive CO2 forcings. Thus we are in a bit of a pickle.

    While Hothaus does suggest this understanding is based on “new evidence,” that is untrue. The presence and nature of negative forcings has long been known.
    The main flaw in the Hothaus thesis is that it rests on all positive forcings from AGW having a very long shelf-life relative to the negative. Yet when considering periods of similar length to any period of de-carbonising, there will indeed be considerable positive forcings that will be disappeared.
    This is true even of CO2. Consider the numbers in IPCC AR5 Appendix AII. This shows RCP2.6 with a 2100 CO2 level of 420ppm, a concentration only 9ppm above the 2020 level shown. Yet over the period 2020-2100 RCP2.6 includes 290Gt(C) of net CO2 emissions, a quantity which would raise atmospheric CO2 levels by 62ppm if it had been released in recent decades, 53ppm above that expected for 2100. I would suggest that without the 290Gt(C) being released 2020-2100 we should still expect ~53ppm CO2 reduction over the period, yielding a reduction in positive forcing of something above 0.5Wm^-2.
    IPCC AR5 assessed the negtive stuff in 2011 at -0.82Wm^-2 although with very large uncertainty.
    And IPCC AR5 also assessed the 2011 forcing from CH4 at +0.74Wm^-2 to +1.20Wm^-2, a GHG with a short shelf-life that would see atmospheric levels tumbling if the sources were cut off.
    So I would suggest that the doom-laden argument for geoengineering set out by Hothaus is greatly exagerating the problem.

  30. 80
    MA Rodger says:

    With a daily CO2 level being reported at MLO which tops the monthly maximum of last year, there will probably be a rash of skyrocketman talk plastered down this thread. As I set out @105UVJanuary I continue to challenge such blather.
    The last few years of MLO data (I suppose we could flush it all down the toilet and simply wring our hands over those February 10th readings) are set out graphically HERE (usually two clicks to ‘download your attachment’) which compares the CO2 levels over the recent El Nino with those during the 1998 El Nino. The graphic is now sporting a trace of the relevant MEI levels to assist in comparisons between the two El Nino periods.

  31. 81
    mike says:

    @ Killian: don’t know if you are open to it, but here’s a perspective piece on intersectionality and how it fits in the history of social/class/race struggle. If the word just sets you off, then I think don’t read the piece.

    We hit Thomas’ 410 number. it’s a spikey day, but still.

    Daily CO2

    February 10, 2018: 410.05 ppm
    February 10, 2017: 405.61 ppm

    As I read back on Thomas’ prediction, I think he was suggesting a weekly average at 410 and/or above.

    crazy numbers. sky-rockety numbers.


  32. 82
    Nemesis says:

    @wili, #75

    Here comes my comment:

    Never, never mess with the Devil :)

  33. 83
    Mr. Know It All says:

    From a 2003 Carnegie Mellon University article:

    “….It is suspected that the sun dimmed about ten times in the last 100,000 years causing “Little Ice Ages” (extended periods of unusually cold temperatures) of about a couple of centuries each. The last such quiescent state occurred in the late seventeenth century. The sun has also shone with considerable above-average brightness at least twice in our geological era: about 5,000 years ago, around the time of the beginning of the ancient civilizations of China, Minoa, Sumeria, and the Indus Valley; and about 1,000 years ago, when the temperatures of Northern England rose high enough to allow vineyards to flourish there.”

  34. 84
    Thomas says:

    Short-term ‘weather’ accumulates to be long term ‘climate’, I think. Kinbd of like daily CO2 ppm is a short term variable indication of where long term CO2 ppm is heading and how fast, I think.

    Recent Daily Average Mauna Loa CO2
    February 10: 410.05 ppm

    The 2017 January-February weekly avg (to 25/02) was 406.195 ppm

    Therefore Feb 10 2018 is +3.855 ppm above that 2 mth wkly avg last year.

    The wkly data for wk beginning 2017-02-05 was 406.03 ppm.

    Therefore February 10: 410.05 ppm is in fact +4.02 ppm above it’s equivalent wkly avg in 2017.

    Of course to see if this is a one-off ‘wobble’ or if it is indicative of a longer term 2018 trend one needs to wait and see what is coming after it arrives.

    Much like seeing an atmospheric Low forming off the mid-western Atlantic and wondering if it will become a 5-Cat Hurricane or not, and whether or not to cancel the weeks holiday in Miami or not. Oh dear, the vagaries of ‘weather’ and human planning decisions. :-)

    I think it much depends on one’s Point of View and Attitude to ‘risk’ and how deep one’s pockets are to actively manage unexpected ‘events’ once they arrive at the door.

  35. 85
    Thomas says:

    Gosh, who’d have thought a +4.00 ppm was a ‘possibility’ even in late February this year? Only a daft irrational crack pot I’d expect. :-)

    Naturally tomorrow or next week might pop-up to be only 406 ppm again. Then again, maybe it won’t. What do you think might possibly happen, all things being equal?

  36. 86
    Killian says:

    Re: ENSO

    This is the much bigger issue with ENSO, IMO, because its extremes may be affecting ASI extremes. While we did not see new September lows, we had a large number of record lows in ASI volume, area and extent in other months during the predicted 2016/17 time frame.

    Ignore the ENSO/ASI connection at your peril, but remember: ENSO is a Pacific phenomenon, and it is Pacific waters flowing West to East through the Arctic Ocean.

    In case you missed it or forgot:

  37. 87

    KIA 68: This story from CBS Boston in 2010 said the sun was the main driver of warming and CO2 played a very, very, small part:

    BPL: This story from CBS Boston in 2010 was wrong. Read and learn:

  38. 88
    Thomas says:

    68 Mr. Know It All, re your ‘models’ query, maybe these two articles might help you.

    And for a little perspective the CO2 ppm mean growth rate in 2008 was 1.57 ppm, and the year avg 385.60 ppm.

    And ASI extent is 1.1 million kms2 less today than it was in Feb 2008.

    Maybe it’s just the ‘weather’ mate and cool change will soon be on it’s way? :-)

  39. 89

    #68, KIA–

    ‘Time to test models?’

    What makes you think that models *haven’t* been tested, all along? Try reading the chapter on model validation in AR5–you’ll never see a more comprehensive critique (if by “comprehensive” one means ‘specific, serious and constructive’).

    But here’s a quick and informal test: plot the sunspot numbers, PMOD insolation values, and temperature index since 1979 on a single graph, and see what your eye tells you. Like this:

    So, whaddya think?

    (Note for those unfamiliar with the “Woodfortrees” site: the data are direct from the relevant research organizations, and the various display parameters are standard stuff. It can be pretty revealing to dive in and just ‘play’ with the data for yourself.)

  40. 90

    Thomas, #58–

    Since you don’t want to argue, I’ll keep my response brief.

    First, I agree that there is lots of depressing, discouraging news to cite. Oil use does continue to increase, albeit IMO not “massively” in percrentage terms:

    Land use does in fact continue to be a very concerning area. And so on.

    But that is not the whole story. Renewable energy does not ‘remain the same’. It’s only been a few years since deployment in the developing world really started to take off, but global renewable energy capacity has doubled since 2007, reaching 8.8% of total generation capacity.

    Yes, hydro has grown little. Yes, biomass has grown little. But wind and solar have grown a *lot*.

    With costs continuing to drop markedly, non-linear growth in deployment is apt to continue. Renewables–primarily wind and solar–are increasingly out-competing fossil fuels on the economics. Add to that the widespread acknowledgment that *every* nation has a lot to lose under BAU, and we’re going to be seeing drastic changes in the energy economy.

    It’s a irony, IMO, that some commentators here bewail the inability of others to understand non-linear change with respect to climate feedbacks or population growth, say, but then assume incremental, linear change in energy technology and economy. Just because some things might tend to lessen our pessimism a bit, doesn’t mean that they are wrong or unrealistic.

    All of which is not to say that I think all is well. Far from it: we need to be working much, much harder for change. For instance, I estimate that we still need to be adding about an order of magnitude more renewable energy each year than we are currently doing in order to put ourselves somewhere close to ‘on track’ to avoid the 2 C buffer. (And yes, I’ve heard all the critiques of 2 C as a goal, and agree that 1.5 would have been much better–‘will be’ much better, if we can deploy massive drawdown methodology, which may or may not be a possibility.) But, bottom line: I think that that order of magnitude increase is very achievable.

    I think in general that there is much more realistic possibility of change for the better than many here want to acknowledge. And I think that the *probability* of change for the better goes up in proportion to our motivation to achieve it. One parameter affecting that is our sense of urgency, which may be fed by a realistic appreciation of the dangers facing us. Another is our ability to be energized by that urgency, rather than paralyzed by nihilistic despair–whether real, or feigned as a convenient excuse for inaction.

    It’s tempting to think we understand the world completely, that we are completely able to predict what people will or will not choose to do. The record suggests, though, that few, if any, of us really can do so consistently. Might as well choose to have some hope in the face of the reality of uncertainty: despair is not adaptive.

  41. 91

    Vendicar, #69–

    “Trump popularity 40% and rising.”

    I don’t think so in reality, though you can support the claim with actual poll data:

    I think we’re seeing a medium-term recovery from the lows last summer, plus a bump from a State of the Union speech in which he managed to stay with the Teleprompter. But he’s put his foot in it with this stupid parade idea, I think, and the stock market correction is an embarrassment, as is his defense of staffers who think it’s fun to torture their wives.

    (OT–Ms. Corbett says she told the FBI about the abuse she suffered at Mr. Sorenson’s hand during their marriage; if that’s correct, it’s an interesting question as to just who knew what, and when. If the Fibbies took the information to the White House team, and the latter buried it, I suspect that information will be coming out sooner rather than later.)

    I think there are going to be quite a few more ‘cuts’ to his image coming up, too, with shocks to American trade and business due to policy choice at odds with reality. We’ll see.

  42. 92
  43. 93
    Thomas says:

    new resource

    Sorkin pointed out many available climate information tools furnished by government-led assessments are not updated regularly enough to meet the needs of businesses. He said Jupiter’s simulations will be available on demand and based on the latest science and available data.

    “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and regional climate panels do an excellent job but run about every 5 years,” he said. “They tend to be academic, they’re often not statistically rigorous, and there’s no consistent methodology across them. They’re not designed for the private sector. We’re taking the same models and people [used in those assessments] and integrating into a regularly run reusable framework and making them available at scale.”

  44. 94
    JohnM says:

    I’ve been asked to give a talk on climate change to a class at our college. I’ve organized it into three parts: 1. Is the earth warming? 2. Why is it warming? and 3. Why is this important?

    For the third part I am considering showing David Robert’s video Climate Change is Simple:

    Unfortunately there are no references posted for his assertions such as:

    An increase of 2C in global temperatures is likely too high to be safe.
    An increase of 3C this century is likely unavoidable.
    He mentions a 2009 conference that studied the likely impacts of a 4C temperature rise and lists those severe impacts.
    He proposes a danger of out of control warming from positive feedbacks.
    He cites an IEA paper but gives no reference of the possibility of a 12C temperature rise by 2300 with BAU.
    He concludes with BAU leads to catastrophe.

    So my question for the experts, are these assertions in line with climate science? And can anyone help me with references for any of these assertions?

  45. 95
    Thomas says:

    Up-to-date weekly average CO2 at Mauna Loa
    Week beginning on February 4, 2018: 408.21 ppm

    Weekly value from 1 year ago: 406.10 ppm +2.11
    Weekly value from 10 years ago: 386.03 ppm +2.22 -yr
    Last updated: February 12, 2018

  46. 96
    Thomas says:

    SLR study …
    The study, by US scientists, has calculated the rate of global mean sea level rise is not just going up at a steady rate of 3mm a year, but has been increasing by an additional 0.08mm a year, every year since 1993.

    If the rate of change continues at this pace, global mean sea levels will rise 61 centimetres between now and 2100, they report today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    But that figure, which is broadly in line with climate modelling, is likely to be a conservative estimate of global mean sea level rise in the future, said Professor Nerem.

    “When you try to extrapolate numbers like this you’re assuming sea level change and acceleration are going to be the same as they’ve been over the past 25 years.

    “But that’s probably not going to be the case.

    “We’re seeing changes in Greenland and Antarctica that are almost certainly going to be bigger than that in the future,” he said.

    note re: “If the rate of change continues at this pace ….” “Assuming” appears (to me) to be an acceptable, valid, very common way by scientists / published papers to communicate the “implications” of existing known data and then extrapolating that out into ‘likely forward estimates’…. even if they are only bare minimum expectations…. and not completely understood how bad it might or might not be in the future and how precise GCMs are or are not.

    Well besides the obvious implications in this SLR study, I’m thinking, well there’s a goose and a gander, and what’s good for one is surely appropriate for others so long as the base data is scientifically valid and the methodology is the same ie using current known growth rates plus “if this then that” calculations years ahead. Kind of self-evident reality for some but not so for others. Each to their own, of course.

    I think the key issue is how best to communicate the known knowns and the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns to the public at large, right now today, in a way that is EASIER for them to comprehend the Implications and the short long term IMPACTS of the specific issue being discussed/reported on.

    It is my personal view (fwiw) that a large sway of the public (and journalists et al) do not fully yet comprehend that Temps, CO2/e ppm and ASI extent and Piomas are all critically important PROXIES for known and as yet unknown present, intermediate and long term AGW/CC IMPACTS.

    Impacts such as SLR and heat waves and crop failures and beetles killing forests and all the other dangerous Impacts and Positive Climate Feedbacks and Tipping Points …. but hey, what would I know?

    and PS RE: “We always felt that there was an acceleration, but it’s very small and it’s difficult to detect,” he said.”

    Similar things were being said about Global and Extreme Regional Temperatures and CO2/e PPM in the 1980s — and still there are people who seem to go out of their way to minimise today’s known accelerations and cannot logically think their way through the issues in a rational manner.

    Sure day to day or year to year shifts are “difficult to detect” scientifically in the moment using hard evidence …. but surely basic math and logic are still as useful as they always has been? As useful as climate models are useful (ala Gavin Schimdt) even if they too lack perfection.

    Perfection is not a necessary ingredient when making logical and rational decisions or thinking ahead. Doing the “best we can” with what is already known + Human Logic & Reason is actually good enough to make sound rational decisions and/or to call a spade a spade, surely?

    Everyone in the world has, imho, an inherent human right to know (in words they can understand), right now, how dangerous AGW/CC really is. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

    In a crisis there is little to no time left to fully evaluate all the facts ‘in hindsight’.

    As a simple analogy/metaphor, spending 90% of one’s time looking through the rear vision mirror is no way to arrive at one’s desired SatNav destination safely or alive. One tends to look ahead at the reality that is right in front of them, from moment to moment, and adjusts accordingly in the now.

    Your mileage may vary. But, most people, science has told us already, consider themselves as excellent drivers and probably better than everyone else on the highway. SatNav tech heads are great, and they are “useful” but they are not the ones doing the driving! (smile)

  47. 97
    Thomas says:

    Useful insights (heads up) into the Current Impacts of decreasing rainfall known to be caused by AGW/CC and Drinking Water in a warming sometimes drier world.

    Are desal plants expensive insurance?
    By Sarina Locke on The World Today
    Audio Duration: 3min 38sec
    Broadcast: Tue 13 Feb 2018,

    Dr Pandora Hope, climate scientist, Bureau of Meteorology
    Dr David Karoly, new leader of CSIRO’s Climate Change Hub
    Professor Ian Wright, lecturer, environmental science, University of Western Sydney
    Professor Stuart Khan, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of NSW

    Perth, Western Australia, population 1.671 million (2011) is the most isolated/remote City in the world, with an extremely low winter rainfall.

    AUDIO EXTRACT: Reporter … Capetown residents are rationed to 50 litres of water per day….. Perth would be in the same boat if they hadn’t listened to climate scientists and acted ….. the first sign was a 20% drop in rainfall in the 1960s …. now Perth faces reducing stream flows to almost nothing

    “from 1911 to 1974 that averaged 338 Gigalitres a year. But from 2010 to 2016 that is down to an average of 42 Gigalitres a year. So that is roughly a 90% decrease.”

    Reporter … Desalinated sea water now supplies half of Perth’s needs, almost the other half from ground water. Adelaide, Brisbane and now Melbourne use their desalination plants. But Sydney’s is damaged and sitting idle.

    “To me they are massive insurance policies. They can desalinate at the flick of the button. They are expensive but what a fantastic Insurance Policy to have.”

    Reporter: The cost of maintaining Sydney’s desalination plant is nearly AU$200 Mln per year, or $85 per household…. it was a panic build and a financial disaster.

    “If Perth had not built the sea water desalination plants Perth would be in a Capetown (Sth Africa) situation. Perth would be running out of water.”

    When to panic or not panic, and when to act, these are the questions confronting the world today regarding AGW/CC Impacts.

  48. 98
    mike says:

    In and out of glacial extremes by way of dust−climate feedbacks

    “…dust deposition rates vary greatly among these archives, they all exhibit striking, nonlinear increases toward coldest glacial conditions. From these relationships and reconstructed temperature time series, we diagnose glacial−interglacial time series of dust radiative forcing and iron fertilization of ocean biota, and use these time series to force Earth system model simulations. The results of these simulations show that dust−climate feedbacks, perhaps set off by orbital forcing, push the system in and out of extreme cold conditions such as glacial maxima. Without these dust effects, glacial temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentrations would have been much more stable at higher, intermediate glacial levels. The structure of residual anomalies over the glacial−interglacial climate cycles after subtraction of dust effects provides constraints for the strength and timing of other processes governing these cycles.”

    Interesting read.

  49. 99
    nigelj says:

    This seems like particularly important new research: From CNN “Satellite observations show sea levels rising, and climate change is accelerating it”.

    The research paper:

  50. 100
    Thomas says:

    81 mike says: “As I read back on Thomas’ prediction, I think he was suggesting a weekly average at 410 and/or above.

    Hi Mike, again, it wasn’t a ‘prediction’ at all. What I said at the time was the january wkly numbers look like they were “heading” towards 410 by the end of February. I was simply suggesting a heads up, that gosh it could be possible if the numbers kept coming in like they were at that time, and that’s all. Not once have I said or confirmed the 410 was a forecast or a prediction, but you are right that I was considering weekly numbers. To see 410 on Feb 10th is a massive surprise/shock given the dip in weeks prior.

    But this something I will say … once numbers cross certain thresholds they never go back down in the long term. The numbers are all going one way, up. One may put up all kinds of arguments to discredit this obvious scientific fact of life in 2018 ongoing, and get lost in distractions about mathematical trend lines extracting out la nina and el ninos, but that is entirely IRRELEVANT to what I have written, and am addressing here, in my own way. The growth rates the trends are irrelevant as are comparisons, for imho the only data that counts the headline number, becasue that does actually represent Total Accumulated CO2 in the atmosphere at any poit in time, and as such that does therefore represent the actual real scientifically based Climate Forcing of CO2 in the present. So 410 ppm is meaningful and it;s useful even when it only lasts a day …. knowing that, all things being equal, el ninos coming and going big or small, forest fires coming and going, sea ice melting ongoing, permafrost melting ongoing then that 410 ppm number for global climate forcing will very soon, in weeks or months, come back and never go lower again. And we need to recognise that real climate scientific facts of the matter.

    The rest, as they say, is FLUFF and BS walking. I believe that you do understand this very clearly. And no matter how one chooses to say it this issue is being ignored in the global polity and probably is not been given the attention it deserves as a PROXY for agw/cc impacts today, tomorrow, next year and next decade. We are toast. I do not care about how “beautiful climate science equations look”. I do not care one bit between an ECS that is 2.8 or 3.0. That imho is all BS walking and misses the real value of the data already available at everyone’s fingertips every day. That data is screaming at people and no one is listening. Winning a stupid argument based on nothing but a failure to comprehend what someone else is saying has zero value to anyone. Crunching numbers each to try and chose which year or which months temps wins the latest title is a total waste of time. It achieves absolutely nothing and it changes nothing.

    Perfection is for wankers and losers (as we say down under) – it does not exist!!! :-)